Cracked Heels Treatment: Care for Your Cracked Heels Today!

What are Cracked Heels?

Cracked heels are a common foot complaint and are also known as heel fissures. It occurs when the skin on the heel cracks or splits. The skin cracks with ground reaction forces and when the skin on the heels is not properly hydrated. If not treated properly, this can lead to not only painful but unsightly heels. If the fissures become deep they can bleed and can lead to infection.

Suffering with cracked heels is often most common for people with dry skin conditions and for people wearing backless shoes over summer, like scuffs, sandals and thongs.

What Causes your Heels to Crack?

There are a number of things, that can cause dry skin that leads to a loss of elasticity, which can lead to cracks or fissures. These can include:

Walking barefoot or in backless shoes (ie. Thongs, sandals and scuffs)

Walking barefoot or in backless shoes can cause the skin on the heels to dry out and become cracked. This is because the skin on the heels is exposed to the elements and can becomes dehydrated. Dehydration of the skin makes it more prone to cracking.

Standing on your feet for long periods of time, especially on hard floors

Standing on your feet for long periods of time, especially on hard floors, can also cause the skin on the heels to become dry and cracked. This is because standing puts pressure on the feet, which can cause the skin to crack.

Excess weight placing more pressure on your heels.

Excess weight places more pressure on the feet, including the heels, which can cause the skin to crack. This is because the increased pressure can cause the skin to become dehydrated and lose its elasticity, making it more prone to cracking.

Medical conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, diabetes, thyroid problems, kidney disease and circulation problems

Medical conditions that affect the skin, circulation, or metabolism can also contribute to the development of cracked heels. These conditions can affect the skin’s ability to retain moisture, making it more prone to cracking. In addition, circulation problems can make it more difficult for the skin to heal, prolonging the healing process.

Fungal skin infections

Fungal skin infections, such as athlete’s foot, can also contribute to the development of cracked heels. This is because the infection can cause the skin to become inflamed and dehydrated, in some cases more moist but primarily causes the skin to lose integrity, making it more prone to cracking.


How to treat a cracked heels? Treatments for cracked heels typically include:

Over the Counter Moisturising creams.

Sorbolene, Vitamin E or Urea based creams can be useful in replacing lost moisture into the skin. Regular use is required and it is recommended that you apply cream initially twice daily after having the thick dry skin attended to by your podiatrist. It is important to apply moisturisers as part of your daily routine, to prevent heel cracks returning.

Prescription creams or ointments

You may be prescribed a prescription-strength moisturising cream for feet or ointment that contains urea, salicylic acid, or alpha-hydroxy acids to help exfoliate and moisturise the skin on the heels. These medications can help remove dead skin cells and promote new skin growth. Cortisone based and antifungal creams can also be advised and prescribed if required. Our Endorsed Prescribing Podiatrists can prescribe these for you at your consultation.


In most cases, we may perform a procedure called debridement, which involves the removal of dead skin and calluses from the heels. This can be done using a scalpel and other specialised tools, including our podiatry drill.

For podiatry care, our podiatrists have the tools and expertise to debride away the dead skin safely and painlessly to aid and encourage the repair and healing of the fissures.

It is important to see a podiatrist when treating a cracked heel. They can advise on what emollients/creams to use to hydrate the skin and give the skin some elasticity protecting it from cracking or splitting.

In severe cases where there is bleeding or infection present, it is important to seek medical attention from a podiatrist who may prescribe antibiotics or other treatments.

It is important for people with diabetes or circulatory problems not to self-treat as these conditions can result in decreased sensation and poor healing which can lead to greater complications. Please consult with your podiatrist and don’t attempt self treatment.


How can I prevent cracked heels from occurring?
  • Keep the skin on the heels moisturised and avoiding excessive pressure or friction on the feet.
  • Wear supportive and comfortable shoes with a closed in heel along with clean socks daily.
  • A rehydration regime, including applying thick moisturiser twice a day,
  • Maintain a healthy weight, and avoiding prolonged standing or walking on hard surfaces.
  • Soaking your feet in warm water for 10-15 minutes before applying moisturiser can help soften the skin and make it easier to remove dead skin cells.
  • Exfoliating regularly with a pumice stone or foot file can also help remove dead skin cells and prevent further cracking.
  • Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day and maintaining a healthy diet rich in vitamins A & E which promotes healthy skin
Are there any underlying medical conditions that can increase the risk of developing cracked heels?
  • Yes, medical conditions such as diabetes, thyroid problems, and kidney disease can increase the risk of developing cracked heels.
  • If you have an underlying medical condition, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider about ways to prevent and treat cracked heels.
Are there any lifestyle changes I can make to help prevent cracked heels?
  • Yes, making certain lifestyle changes can help prevent cracked heels.
  • These include maintaining a healthy weight, staying hydrated, wearing supportive shoes, and avoiding prolonged exposure to water or harsh chemicals.
How long does it take for cracked heels to heal?
  • The length of time it takes for cracked heels to heal can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the type of treatment used.
  • Mild cases of cracked heels may heal within a few days with proper care, while more severe cases may require a few visits to your podiatrist and may take up to two weeks.

Always Consult A Trained Professional

The information in this resource is general in nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subject matter covered. It is not a substitute for medical advice and you should always consult a trained professional practising in the area of medicine in relation to any injury or condition. You use or rely on information in this resource at your own risk and no party involved in the production of this resource accepts any responsibility for the information contained within it or your use of that information.